Together we serve more than a
quarter of a million people every month
FOR THE KIDS
Like most kids, 11-year-old José and nine-year-old Valentina like to have fun – José enjoys riding his bicycle and scooter, and Valentina likes to read, work on art projects and play with her stuffed animals. But their mom, Maria, wants them to be focused on playtime y schoolwork.
Maria knows that in order to help her kids be successful, they need nutritious food to grow up strong – and thanks to the groceries she receives from Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, she feels good that she’s able to regularly feed her kids fresh fruits and vegetables, and other nutritious foods. “The kids are very happy with the food from Second Harvest,” she says. “My girl loves the spinach and the cauliflower; we love that, too.”
Maria picks up groceries every Friday at the Boys and Girls Club in East Palo Alto – one of Second Harvest’s community partners – where her kids go after school to do their homework and participate in the club’s extracurricular activities. About a year ago she noticed there were tables with groceries on them, so she asked if she could take some home and was thrilled to learn that the food was for families like hers.
When talking about how she keeps her kids excited to eat produce, Maria says, “I like to combine foods and mix in vegetables because that’s healthier. I make him [José] a dish called picadillo. It has ground beef, and it has carrots, potatoes, onions. He really likes it.”
Valentina adds, “The food makes me have more energy.”
Breana works as a licensed insurance agent, but because of the high cost of living in Silicon Valley she still needs help from Second Harvest sometimes to ensure that her kids have enough nutritious food to eat.
Breana sees a bright future for her kids – Sean, 16, Amiyah, 10, Zoey, 8, and Kali, 6. “I just want my kids to know they can do anything, and I’m going to show them that by example,” she says.
Breana glows when she talks about her kids. “Sean is a techie guy. He is actually in the process of building a drone from scratch. Amiyah, she’s an artist – she draws, she paints. When I see rainbows, I think of her. Zo-zo, she’s still in her shell, and Kali, she’s a little sports kid.”
30% of KIDS
are at risk of hunger in Silicon Valley.
> 85,000 KIDS
are served by Second Harvest each month.
“I get excited when my mom gets the food. Sometimes with the chicken, she makes molé. For special occasions, like birthdays.”
– Martin, Redwood City
When asked what it feels like to eat their mom’s homemade lasagna, Erika shares, “it smells good and I feel happy.” Felix laughs and says, “You feel like superman and you’re flying.”
“These meals make me strong like my favorite superhero, Wonder Woman. I like being strong.”
When Aaron went to his first food distribution at San Jose State University, he was shocked to see that hundreds of other students also needed help.
“I thought I was the only one who was food insecure, but it turns out there is quite a number of us.”
Aaron was able to land a campus job, but all of his money went to school fees. The fresh produce and nutritious groceries he received from Second Harvest made it possible for him to concentrate on his schoolwork.
“I was at a crossroad in my life. I had to figure out how to survive and actually complete my education.”
Aaron graduated from San Jose State University in December of 2019 with a degree in software engineering. He hopes to get a job that will pay enough to cover his bills and put food on the table.
Second Harvest’s school pantry program serves students at
including every community college in Silicon Valley.
“Having access to all of these wonderful resources allowed me to pursue my lifelong interest in astrophysics. Be proud to seek out these resources. You’re going to get to a better place, and it’s going to help you get there.”
“You probably have more responsibilities or circumstances that you do need to worry about. Don’t let food be one of them. There is a community with you, especially if you are a student.”
This center is close to me. I don’t need to take a bus a long way. I just walk. Now I’m eating brown rice because of my diabetes. And the chicken, oh boy! I like to cook adobo.
– Catalina, Daly City
We distribute food through
310 PARTNERS at
to reach people in nearly every corner of Silicon Valley, from Daly City to Gilroy.
“I’m on a fixed income. Sometimes I run out of food, so I go to the distribution on campus and the food I get there helps me.”
“All I have done is work hard and help the community as much as I can. And now the community is helping me.”
Natasha needed help when she left an abusive relationship with her husband, taking her children, 16-year-old Tyler and 6-year-old Kai, with her. They left their home with nothing.
Soon she was connected to Second Harvest, and was able to get fresh fruits and vegetables for her family. They were also able to move into a shelter operated by LifeMoves, one of Second Harvest’s partner agencies.
A year later, Natasha’s family lives in a townhouse in San Jose and she works as an accountant at a local children’s hospital. Natasha is able to focus on healing and providing for her boys. She shared:
“I couldn’t have done everything I had to do in the past year without nutritious food.”
A typical client receives
of free groceries every month from a Second Harvest distribution, freeing up dollars that can be used to pay for housing and other basic necessities.
When Rebekah’s son was born premature and with low blood sugar, she knew he would need plenty of nutritious food to grow up healthy and strong. She shared:
“It’s helpful because it’s expensive to eat healthy otherwise. This just helps tremendously. It’s a big, heavy weight lifted.”
[Food’s] a passion for everybody. You get a good meal and you’re happy and you’re full. What else can you ask for?
– John with Sugar, Mountain View
“If you don’t have this support group…I’ve been to that point where you’re losing hope. [The food] is a supplement to what I can buy. It really helps out.”
“That does change your personality, if you have food and then don’t. What Second Harvest does is good.”